KBR Horse Training Information

Exercising Body AND Mind

Training Horses the "Wal-Mart" Way
Part Two

This is a continuation of a feature. To understand the context and application of the suggestions presented, please be sure to read Part One.

Wal-Mart Shopping Bag and simple "Handy Stick"

Riding a spooky horse is no fun. A horse that's more afraid of a piece of plastic fluttering in the grass than a speeding car, for example, could react and land a rider straight into disaster. We use the bags that our supplies come in to desensitize the horses.

The idea here isn't to scare the horse but rather to move the bag like a flag in a non threatening manner all around the horse, touch the horse and let the horse explore the flag.

The simple "handy sticks" we use to hold the plastic bags are made from bicycle safety flags that we found in Wal-Mart's Toy Department. We cut the sticks in half, glued one end of each into a wooden dowel and affixed a short loop of string to the other end.

Making plastic less scary

We can use these sticks as to hold our shopping bag "flags," to simply cue the horse or to hold a string that we can toss over the horse.
Close up of our home made "handy stick"
For a complete discussion on working horses with a flag, please click Here.
"Horse Thumper" made from Manna Pro bags

We like Manna Pro products, particularly their "Family Farm" line of complete feeds. They are good quality, reasonably priced, and ... yes ... we pick them up, too, at our local Wal-Mart store.

The value of these products doesn't end when we feed the horse. As trainer / clinician Tony Sumner showed us, the empty Manna Pro bags are perfect for making "thumpers" that are incredibly useful tools for safely desensitizing horses.

We fold two Manna Pro bags over each other. We then roll up the top ends and wrap them with some duct tape to make a handle. Now we have a "thumper" we can use to touch and "thump" the horse.

The idea here is to be able to "thump" the horse all over with something that is bulky but not harmful to get him used to the contact. Many horses recognize the smell of the "thumper" bags and therefore are more curious and less reactive.

For a complete discussion on working horses with a thumper, please click Here.

Working with the "thumper"
Getting back to those scary places

Continue to Part Three

Return to Part One

Important Note: If you take on the project of developing an untrained horse, everybody will want to give you advice. Don't act on any advice, including the ideas offered in this site, unless it makes sense to you and fits your individual situation. Your abilities and the sensitivities of your horse(s) may differ from the examples given. Be alert and rational with your actions so neither you nor your horse will get hurt. This information is offered as illustrations of what we do and the reader must apply common sense since he or she is solely responsible for his or her actions.

Happy trails!

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